Unaffiliated Voter FAQ

June 28, 2022 Primary Election - Unaffiliated Voter - Frequently Asked Questions

Can unaffiliated voters vote in the June 28, 2022 Primary Election?

Yes. They must choose one party’s primary ballot to vote. This June, the Democratic and Republican parties are holding primaries.

How does the process work?

For every Primary Election, all active unaffiliated voters will automatically be mailed ballots for both major parties (Democrat and Republican) unless they pre-select a ballot preference to be mailed to them. If a ballot preference has not been made, then the voter will receive two ballots – one democratic party ballot and one republican party ballot. An unaffiliated voter may vote and return only one ballot. If a voter marks and returns more than one ballot, none of their votes will be counted.

How do I pre-select my ballot preference?

An unaffiliated voter may declare a ballot preference by updating their voter registration online. For this election, unaffiliated voters may select a ballot for the Democratic or Republican party. No minor parties are holding primaries this year (note: all third parties are still listed as options in the voter registration platform; if you select a party other than Dem or Rep, you will by default still receive both ballots). Directions:

  1. Screenshot of voter registration primary ballot preference selection areaPull up your voter registration and click edit. For verification, you will be asked to provide your driver’s license or state ID card number or part of your social security number.
  2. Under Party Affiliation, it should read: Unaffiliated and then there is a second Primary Election selection available. Under that section, you can select a primary ballot preference for the upcoming June primary. To help you make a ballot selection, you may review the list of names that will appear on the Democratic and Republican party ballots.

Please note that your ballot preference resets after each election. This means that if you wish to continue receiving only one ballot in the mail, you will need to update your ballot preference before every primary election.

Is there a deadline* to pre-select a ballot preference?

While the official deadline is June 6* to pre-select a ballot to be mailed to you, we must prepare the ballots far in advance (we start the printing process several weeks earlier, in mid-May). Thus, if you wait until too close to the deadline, you will likely simply receive a ballot packet with both ballots. Thus, we recommend you pre-select your ballot preference as soon as you are ready.

To help with this selection, please see the 2022 June Primary Candidate page to see to see who will appear on the ballot.

Why choose a ballot preference in advance?

Selecting your ballot now helps save Boulder County taxpayer resources because we will only need to print and mail one ballot instead of two, and it saves valuable time and staff resources on the ballot processing side of our elections operation.

I specified my ballot preference before June 6*, but now I’ve changed my mind. Can I get a new ballot for the other party?

If you are registered as an unaffiliated voter and have not cast a ballot yet, you may change your ballot preference, but you must do so in person. Vote Centers open June 20. If you would like to pick up your ballot before June 20, visit our Elections Division office in Boulder at 1750 33rd Street. We are open Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed to the public on Friday.

Note that party-affiliated voters do not have the option to change party affiliation after the June 6 deadline has passed.

What if I want to vote for different individual contests on both the Democratic and Republican ballots?

This is not permitted. You can only vote in one party’s primary. If a voter marks and returns more than one party’s ballot, none of their votes will be counted.

Does selecting a ballot preference change my party registration?

No. If you declare a ballot preference, it does not change your registration as an unaffiliated voter. This option simply means you will receive just one ballot in the mail (instead of two) for the primary election. However, your vote history record (whether you participated in an election) is public and contains which party’s ballot you returned (but not how you voted). Additionally, your ballot preference is removed after every primary election.

Does the ballot preference I pick become the ballot I get for every Primary Election?

No. Your ballot preference is removed after every primary election. For each primary election, you will be able to choose which party’s primary you want to participate in. If you wish to receive only one ballot in the mail, you will need to update your ballot preference at least one month prior to every primary election. You can easily specify your ballot preference prior to each primary election by updating your voter record online at www.GoVoteColorado.gov.

Why is there a small hole in my ballot return envelope?

By law, our office must record which party’s ballot each unaffiliated voter returns in primary elections (see C.R.S. 1-7.5-106.5). The ballot return envelope is purposely designed with a small hole so that we can see the color of the ballot that is in the envelope (the Republican ballot has a coral stripe and the Democratic ballot has a yellow stripe) before removing the ballot from its envelope. This way, we are able to record which party’s ballot an unaffiliated voter returned while protecting the anonymity of their votes.

Why can unaffiliated voters participate in primary elections?

Colorado voters approved Proposition 108 in 2016, which allows unaffiliated voters to participate in Colorado primary elections.

Can I choose not to receive a ballot at all?

Proposition 108 was approved by voters in 2016 and the way it is written (along with the accompanying statute passed by the Colorado legislature) does not currently allow for any voter to select an “opt out or do not mail” option. We must carry out the law as passed/written and send all unaffiliated voters both major party ballots (or the single ballot of their preference). Just like any other election that you do not want to participate in, simply tear up (or write void) and discard/recycle your mail ballot.

For further information, visit the Secretary of State Primary Election FAQ.

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